Archive for February, 2012

Choose Your Ink Well

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

There are two main types of ink that are used in inkjet printer, dye ink and pigment ink. Each has different characteristics which can produce different results on paper, so it is important to look at the benefits of both and then make an informed decision about what will bring the best result for your personal printing run.

Pigment based inks are inks that are not absorbed by the paper, but they sit on top of the surface as tiny particles. The main benefits of pigment based inks are that they are usually water fast; dye-based inks usually begin to run when wetted if they aren’t printed on water-resistant coated paper. The ink dries very quickly, with little colour fade and a relatively long life cycle. As a bonus, there is also a reduced bleeding level on the edges of a piece printed in colour.

Dye based inks mean that the ink is absorbed into the fibres of the paper instead of sitting on top of it, which creates differences from pigment and dye-based inks in colour intensity, ink stability and contrast. The main advantages of dye- based ink are that there is a wider range of colours that can be produced compared to pigment-based ink, the level of brilliance and contrast is generally very high. In addition to this, they are also relatively inexpensive to boot.

Each type of ink has its own applications, such as dye-based ink is often used in monochrome (black and white) printers, whereas pigment-based ink is more common in colour printers. The reason for this is that up to ten different colours can be used in a colour printer, and there is a need for a fast drying ink so the colours don’t bleed into each other. A digital printing company may get a lot out of both these types of inks for the many different kinds of digital printing they offer and their clients’ varying needs.

As time goes by, there are more and more improvements being made to both dye-based and pigment-based inks to iron out any weaknesses of each type, so both kinds of ink are becoming stronger and stronger. It is also important to note that ink is one of three factors that can create a high-quality document; the printer itself and the printer paper also contribute to this. If used correctly, both pigment-based and dye-based inks can create fantastic looking prints which cater to your personal printing needs.

How Can You Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

A successful company is likely to use a lot of paper and a lot of energy. A lot of this paper and energy is sometimes wasted. Many consumers now look at the carbon footprint of a company before they consider buying from it. It is important for a business to try and minimise its waste and minimise its carbon footprint not only to help the environment but also to draw in new customers. Being environmentally friendly is now a marketing tool as well as a scientific request and companies should embrace this because it is very easy to become environmentally friendly.

One way of minimising waste paper is to only print on demand. This means that instead of printing lots of flyers or brochures that may get thrown away after an event is over or a certain product is sold out, you only print the amount you need and then print more if necessary. Digital printing has made on demand printing very quick and easy as a business can order prints via email and usually pick them up the next day, if not the same day! Printing on demand reduces the amount of paper that gets thrown away.

If businesses are using colour printing to advertise their products then one option is to only use short run colour printing. This means that again they will not be throwing away paper if they have not used it. A duplex colour printer should always be used to get more information on one sheet of paper instead of using double the amount. Duplex printing not only helps the environment, it also saves the company money as they do not have to buy as much paper.

If a company does have a lot of waste paper they should be sure to recycle it and not just throw it away. Paper can be recycled almost anywhere so a business has no excuse to not recycle their waste. Some businesses also only use recycled paper to begin with as this is good for the environment and does not cost the business more money.

While many businesses are environmentally friendly these days, not all can boast that they only work with other companies who care about the environment. If you outsource your printing you should consider working with a digital printing company that uses recycled paper and recycles its own waste as this can be a huge marketing opportunity for both of your businesses.

Newspapers v Magazines – A Difference in Printing

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

It has been a difficult year for journalism with the phone hacking scandals and the Leveson inquiry leaving readers wondering how they can trust newspapers. In many cases this has caused newspaper circulation to drop. In fact, in December 2011, every daily newspaper’s circulation had fallen by at least 4% compared to the year before, some by nearly as much as 18%.

However, some people think this is because products such as the iPad and the Kindle mean that people can now access newspapers in a new format. Some people simply read the news online. This is not the same for magazines, where less than 1% of sales are digital editions. It is only recently that the internet has had an impact on news consumption. Previously, the printing and distribution process and consumption process was very different.

Most magazines and newspapers are now printed using a digital printing press. This is because the pages of newspapers and magazines are designed on computers using design software and these designs can be sent straight to the digital printing press. A digital printing press is faster than the printing presses of the past because of technological advances. They are less likely to jam and cause a break in production. Broadsheet newspapers are often printed on a wide format printing machine as they can handle bigger sheets of paper. Using a wide format printer for larger sheets means that the printer should not jam and will be able to print large sheets to a level of high quality.

Magazines are printed in a different manner. The pages are glossy and in full colour so readers can appreciate photographs and so that the magazine itself lasts longer. Hot foil printing has sometimes been used on the binding of magazines to keep them sturdy and make them even more durable. When people buy a magazine they usually want it to last at least a month, whereas newspapers are usually disposed of at the end of each day. Because of this period of usage the printing processes are very different. Weekly magazines are often not as sturdy as monthly magazines as they do not have to last as long.

Newspapers and magazines have always been printed in different ways and still are today, even if both use digital printing methods. However, the increase of digital sales, while it is still small in the magazine sector, could soon see a change in the way things are printed, especially if more people choose to have online digital subscriptions for a lower price.

Advertising your products to a wider market

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Marketing your business can be a very tough job. You may think you have the best business plan in the world with the best products but if no-one knows about you, you are never going to make any sales. Businesses that charge higher prices than yours and offer a lower quality of service may be more competitive than you are because they have an exceptional marketing strategy that draws customers in. If you want to succeed in today’s business environment, especially during a recession, you have to market your business well.

A good way to initially draw people into your business is to hold an opening event or launch party. A digital printing company will be able to provide you with some very professional looking invitations which you can send to any clients from your past employment, friends, family and other people who fall into your target market. For example, if you are opening a gift shop in a small town, you should send an invite to everyone in the town as they are likely to be your main market base. Duplex printing should be used to fit as much information onto one small card as possible. Printing the name of the event and the name of the business on one side and some more information on the other will make people want to find out more about your business and what it offers.

After you have made people aware of your business, you have to make sure they not only keep coming back to you but that they tell other people about you as well. Word of mouth is one of the best ways of promotion, especially if you operate in a small geographic area or a small niche market. One way of making sure people come back to you is to have a professional looking brochure that lists your products. If you give people a brochure when they come into your shop, they will take it home to look at the products you sell and perhaps show it to other people as well. If each person shares your brochure with one friend or relative you could potentially double your sales revenue.

Using flyers is also a good way of attracting people to your business, especially if you are trying to expand your market. After you have set up a strong local or niche market you may want to explore other avenues. For example, you might start giving out flyers in the next village or town to try and attract people to your business. You may decide to give flyers to other businesses that you may be able to work with. A double sided, high quality flyer will catch someone’s eye and perhaps lead them to call up your store or check out its website.

Marketing is vital and, if you use a bit of common sense, it can be very easy to do. Think about your target market and what you can do to attract them, and then make it happen!

Make Sure People Know About Your Venue

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Trying to run a successful live music venue has always been difficult. There are plenty of unsigned bands who want to get up and play every night but sometimes these bands bring no fans with them. On many occasions, their fans may be under 18 so you cannot allow them to be in your bar. It is very difficult to make any money out of running a live music bar. This is only about to get more difficult with the introduction of the live music bill, meaning that more bars can have live music nights. If you want to make your music venue a success, you have to work hard at making sure it’s the only venue in town that bands want to play at.

One of the ways to do this is to have attractive signage throughout your venue. Even something as small as signs for the toilets can have a big effect on customers if the signs are funny or interesting as people will remember them and are likely to tell their friends about them. Printing wide format signs that attract attention as soon as people come into your venue can make a huge difference to how your venue is remembered, even if the bands that night aren’t particularly fantastic.

If you have signs that aren’t quite permanent enough to be fixtures but still need to be protected, such as advertising drinks deals, you should use a large format laminator to protect them. A simple, A3 sheet that advertises the venues cocktails and is laminated for extra protection can draw attention and, if the deals are right, keep people coming back. There is no point having a good deal if it is not advertised well as people will not know about, not use it and won’t come back.

Using a commercial digital printing company can have huge benefits to a venue, especially if they are just starting out. As well as indoor and outdoor signage, a digital printing company will be able to produce flyers that match the décor of the venue and attract people to come in. Many venues also use business cards with drinks promotions to attract customers in on busy nights. If you want to have the most successful live music venue in town, you have to think about what your target market wants from it. If they’ve just come to see bands play, think of other ways to attract them such as with good drinks offers or music themed cocktails. If people are looking for a night out after live music, get outdoor signage that says you have a DJ playing until 3am.

Scratch cards: Scratch to reveal a better business

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

In our society, when we are given a scratch card it is almost impossible to resist scratching the surface and revealing the contents, even if we have no intention of calling up the prize number. Scratch cards are relatively simply made and are almost addictive in their nature. Since their success in relation to the lottery, scratch cards have been a national game of pot luck.

A scratch card is made of paper, plastic or card and has a concealed image which has been covered with an opaque material which is easily scratched off. This opaque material is usually foil or latex, both of which can be easily scratched through. What is hidden under the scratching material depends on who the scratch card is made for, but often text and images are revealed. Many game card companies tend to put images (such as ‘Scratch to reveal two fruit of the same kind to win’) and text (such as ‘Sorry, you have not won!) behind this foil or latex to thoroughly inform the scratcher what they have or have not won.

In the business world, a scratch card can do wonders. For example, a pizza restaurant can give out scratch cards with their deliveries and the consumers can scratch to reveal exclusive offers and discounts with their next order. This encourages further custom with the same company and therefore has great potential to boost the restaurant’s business. As scratch cards are essentially irresistible, they can even contain the smallest of deals but will have succeeded in attracting a lot more attention to the business.

Scratch cards could also be used in an office environment; for example, a business could utilise a weekly scratch card lottery in which small cash prizes or an afternoon off could be the prize. The small price of the scratch cards and the prizes within to the business is small in comparison to the increased sense of morale and friendly competition between the employees. It is a known fact that increased morale within a company boosts productivity and attendance rates, therefore the scratch cards could end up paying for themselves in the long run! For a more unconventional style, foil printing can be used to make scratch card business cards: foil stamped business cards would attract a lot of attention to the card and more importantly, the details on it.

Using hot foil printing and stamping, a scratch card can be easily made and the vast benefits of adding a scratch card system to a business could prove to be very valuable.

Dont be perplexed with duplexing

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

When given a paper document to look at, have you ever wondered how the text gets on both sides of the paper? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. To the unwitting, a double-sided document can be a thing of mystery, however it is something that is easily done and drastically saves paper. The name given to this phenomenon is duplexing, the art of double-sided printing which has` significantly improved the way we print documents today.

Many office printers will have a duplexing unit that allows the user to turn the piece of paper around once one side has been printed by either changing printing preferences on a computer or pressing a button on the printer itself (depending on the software). Automatic duplex printing is found in many printers, however in some printers the paper turning must be done manually. The printing can often be done in either landscape or portrait paper setups for extra convenience.

It is not only text printing that can benefit from duplexing. Photos can also be printed on both sides of a sheet of paper (or photo paper) for photo albums, calendars or greetings cards. Think of how much wasted paper a photo album with only single-sided photos would use, not to mention how much space an album of that size would take up on a shelf!

With regards to digital photo printing, duplexing a photo can add a whole new dimension and texture to the photo. When two sheets with different coloured photos are stuck together, there is a world of possibility; such as varying the edge textures of both sheets, cutting holes or shapes into the sheet so different colours come out of the overall image, or foil printing on the other side to reveal a whole new kind of photo print.

There is an obvious ‘green’ advantage to a duplex print job; it saves a lot of paper. Whether it is for essays, office documents or handbooks, duplex printing can literally cut your paper usage in half. This has a knock-on effect of a reduced cost (which is beneficial for a business) and reduced storage space. Not only is paper saved, but this could drastically sink a company’s carbon footprint, something that can help a business get ahead in this carbon-aware age.

The addition of duplexing to any text or photo printing system could save a lot of waste paper which could in turn save money. In addition, when presenting a presentation or report for a business client, a double-sided document can look more professional than having lots of individual sheets stapled together.

Display your work around the home

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Personalising and proudly displaying your family photos, paintings or children’s drawings has never been simpler in this modern age. It seems a shame to not display sentimental pictures because they cannot be hung up or are not the right shape for a certain surface, but there are ways around these complications.

Laminating can be a clever way of preserving drawings and artwork for years to come. Laminating a picture means it can be protected from tearing and spillages, can be easily transported without any creases.

A very simple yet hugely effective way of editing digitally printed pictures for display around the home is through drilling. As simple as it sounds, drilling involves making holes in the print itself in order to be hung on the wall. A common example of this is for a calendar or schedule to be hung on the wall. A small hole will be made at the top of the picture in the centre, which a nail or pin can be placed through to hang the work. Another adaptation of drilling is drilling up to four holes in the side of the print so it can be placed in a ring binder. This way, the pictures will not get damaged by wear and tear as they are safely contained in the ring binder.

Another easy way of enabling pictures to be displayed around the home or workplace is through die cutting. Die cutting is the process of cutting a material into a specific shape. The best analogy for this is a cookie cutter: The die cutting machine cuts your picture into the shape you desire and leaves you with the cut result. For example, in a hotel there are many coloured paper door hangers that lodgers can place on the door handle to ensure they are not disturbed—these hangers have been made using a die cutting machine. These machines are very versatile and can also be used to make other arts and crafts delights. With a combination of die cutting and laminating, a sturdy shape can be created.

Many products today have been created using die cutting for example, envelopes and folders. Die cutting has revolutionised the printing industry as it opens up a world of opportunity to the customer. A major benefit of die cutting is that the shapes cut will all be uniform; no shape cut will be different to another. Die cutting is also relatively inexpensive as only one tool is needed to cut the material—and this machine also produces little waste because the dies can be lined up closely together, using the maximum amount of the material possible.

For displaying a student’s dissertation or presentation, using a book printing and binding service could be a great way to ensure it stays safe and crease-free. Once the essay has been digitally printed, it can be bound with a hard margin and cover—which can then be proudly displayed. Book binding is a great way to make sure that no stray sheets get lost and will remain in the right order, preserving a student’s hard work.

When your child comes home with a new piece of art, using one of these simple methods it can be displayed proudly in the home, possibly next to the calendar or family portrait which have already been cut or drilled to size!